Shaben remembered as family man and 'exceptional person'

Former premiers Peter Lougheed and Don Getty were among more than 1,000 people who attended a funeral on Monday for Larry Shaben.
Carol Shaben speaks about her father Larry at Monday's funeral in Edmonton. (CBC)

Former Alberta premiers Peter Lougheed and Don Getty were among more than 1,000 people who attended a funeral in Edmonton on Monday for Larry Shaben.

The former MLA, cabinet minister, and community leader died of cancer Saturday at the age of 73.

In his eulogy, Lougheed called Shaben an "exceptional person" and a "star" politician who had the respect of his colleagues in government.

"When Larry Shaben spoke, he spoke quietly and firmly ... and everybody listened, intently," he said.

Shaben, who lived in High Prairie for many years, was first elected to the Alberta legislature in 1975, and represented the northern Alberta riding of Lesser Slave Lake until 1989.

He was also described as a man who brought Edmonton's Muslim community together.

Iman Tamir Ali described how the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, prompted Shaben to form the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities.

Former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed told mourners that people listened when Shaben spoke. (CBC)

"Mr. Shaben's biggest concern was to bridge the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims," he said. "And to help Muslims reach out to the wider society they belong to."

Shaben was one of three survivors of a 1984 plane crash that killed six people, including Alberta NDP leader Grant Notley.

Carol Shaben said that plane crash had a major impact on how her father lived his life.

"A few years back my dad told me that every year on the anniversary of the plane crash he reflects on his life, and whether he has made good use of the 20 years that God gave to him and not to others," she said. "Well, Dad, from all of your family, we can lovingly say that you made good use of your years. All 73 of them."

Larry Shaben leaves behind his wife Alma, five children and three grandchildren.